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Full text of "NightRider"

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" —but I* can't prove it. That's the trouble. Nobody'11
believe it."

"I believe hit," Willie Proudfit said, "but I don't give a
dum. If n you did do hit."

If he had done it, it might have been different now. If he
had gone up to his office that morning, and looked out the
window and seen, under the leafing trees, that man Turpin
being taken toward the courtroom to sit there in the chair,
with that heavy, blank look on his face gradually turning into
despair as the words came out that he had bargained to say.
If he himself had seen Turpin, and had seen the rifle sitting
there and the cartridge box there on the shelf of the bookcase,
behind the cracked glass door, he might have done it. Near
forty yards away, forty yards Mr. Campbell had said—moving
in the speckled sunlight under the leafing trees, but the rifle
propped to the window-ledge, or the desk. If he had done it,
he might now feel something, some sense and order, not this
numbness. He would lie on his back by the spring, while the
falling water made its constant sound, and stare at the blue-
ness of the sky, or the patches of whitish clouds that hung
idly in the brightness, and would try to think himself into
that context. The deed, then, would have been his; he could
have lived in it; and in its consequence. Certainly, it would
have been different from this.

He would think of that negro man, the one who had had
the knife, Trevelyan's knife. The knife which the negro had
found under the corncrib. Where Trevelyan had put it, after
he killed Duffy. Where the frog found it—" a great-big ole
bull-frog a-hoppen along this side that-air branch whar my
shoats does they walleren." The negro standing there in the
pale lamplight, his voice pouring out, saying, "—and he kept
on a-hoppen and a-hoppen, and I throwed my hat at him
and I tried to ketch him, but he kept on a-hoppen—hit wuz
that big ole red shoat got him, I seen him when she done hit.

She done taken him-----" The words had poured out, but

after they got him on the horse, behind the deputy, he had
only mumbled a little and then had said nothing more. They